Fahrenheit 451Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451 was first published on Essay

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 was first published on the 19th of October 1953.

Plot Overview

Guy Montag is a fireman in a time where instead of stopping fires, he starts them. Books are illegal and on the brink of extinction, while television rules. He takes pleasure in his profession: burning books. He then meets his neighbour, Clarisse and witnesses the destruction of his former city and dedicates himself to rebuilding a literate and cultural society.

Main characters and their personalities/character type

Guy Montag – The protagonist of the text, who becomes increasingly unhappy with his life as he realizes it has become empty and unfulfilling.

He is unsure of the cause behind his lack of interest for his wife, job, and the society he’s living in. Montag comes to recognize that he is disgusted with himself and those around him for selecting to adopt a never-changing life instead of looking at what lies beneath.

Captain Beatty – The antagonist of the text, runs the firehouse where Montag works.

He lectures Montag, trying to prevent him from giving in to the appeal of books. Beatty is against the presence of books in society.

Millie Montag – Montag’s wife, abandons real happiness to bury herself in the technology of the age which allows her to constantly escape reality.

Clarisse McClellan – Montag’s next-door neighbour, has no affection for the advanced technology the rest of society has come to depend on. She is the first to encourage Montag on his path to self-awareness.

Are there any clear indicators of conflict in the text? Types?

The main conflict in the novel is Person vs Society which is shown through Montag not being able to accept what society is telling him about books. Everyone has successfully stopped thinking and turned into mindless robots living an unchanging life, and Montag is struggling against what is considered “normalised” in his society.

There is also Person vs Self, which is shown through Montag realising that there is no significance in his life, and he is looking for that significance. He’s trying to figure out what he feels is right, even if it means going against what most other people believe and his old ideals.

Themes/Issues suggested

Freedom of Thought vs. Censorship

The society represented by Bradbury willingly gave up books and reading, and they do not feel oppressed or censored. The character Captain Beatty gives an explanation to Montag about the phenomenon: the more individuals learn from books, the more confusion, uncertainty and distress arises. So, society decided that destroying the books would make life safer, limiting their access to ideas and that society would be better off engaging in mindless entertainment.

The Dark Side of Technology

In Fahrenheit 451, technology is making society worse. All the technology outlined in the story is eventually detrimental to the people who interact with it. The huge televisions hypnotize their viewers, leading to parents who have no emotional connection to their children and a population who cannot think for themselves. This theme has been added to show that a world without technology is the only hope for the survival of the human race. Bradbury portrays a society that has abandoned reading for the sake of easier, less thinking engagement with television. People have lost their link with one another and spend time in a drugged dreamland. The community as a whole are actively conspiring to destroy iconic works of literature, all because they are constantly influenced by TV, which is intended to never disturb or challenge.

Obedience vs. Rebellion

Society as a whole represents blind obedience and conformity, while Montag represents rebellion. The novel’s characters even help their oppression by willingly prohibiting books. Even former book enthusiast Captain Beatty has found that books are ‘hazardous’ and have to be burned. Montag questions societal standards and steals books despite his opposition and threat.

Possible reasons why this text has been considered so important to Western readers

This book is considered important to Western readers as it shows the importance of literature and what society could potentially or is turning into. Books are deposits of information and ideas. Ray Bradbury feared a future which is now a reality: that the internet and social media platforms threaten serious thought.

The technological advances that our society has taken in the last century has been phenomenal, but it has brought much change, both positive and negative. Instead of purchasing or borrowing actual books, kindles are being used for convenience. People are soaking up information from the internet, instead of from books. Bradbury warned us in his novel of the threat that mass media was to reading and the bombardment of digital devices that may replace critical thinking. They will “feel they’re thinking,” Bradbury wrote, “and they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change.” This book was written before it’s time, when technology wasn’t a massive part of our everyday lives.

This book was also based on real life situations that were happening at the time. In the early 1950s, not very long after the Nazis burnt books and human beings, “Fahrenheit 451” was written. Books were being burned for not supporting German “ideals” and were erased from existence. America had a cloud of fear generated by the House Un-American Activities Committee and McCarthyism that brought about political suppression, blacklisting and censorship of literature and art. These anxieties are shown within this novel. This is important to Western readers as political correctness (PC) has been rising in recent years, and people can’t speak their mind without being hated for their opinion because it isn’t “PC”.

The Giver

Lois Lowry

The Giver was first published in 1993.

Plot overview

Jonas lives in a society that is controlled by The Elders. He is chosen as the Receiver of Memory which sets him apart from others and authorizes him. He follows the laws and he receives wisdom as memories, but he quickly becomes upset with the rules. Shocked at the killing of children and others, Jonas wants to get rid of society and rescues the child that his father is “releasing”. They both go to Elsewhere to seek freedom, life and colour.

Main characters and their personalities/character type

Jonas – The protagonist of The Giver. He’s intelligent but doesn’t understand the strange powers of perception he possesses. When Jonas turns twelve, he is selected as the new Receiver of Memory for his society. Even before his training, Jonas is unusually thoughtful, expresses concern about his family and friends, and believes it’s good to be closer to others. After his training starts, Jonas’s universe broadens dramatically. He is highly enthusiastic about the world around him and has gained knowledge of strong feelings, beautiful colors and great suffering.

The Giver – The old man known in the community as the Receiver of Memory. He is passing on duty to Jonas and training him. The Giver has kept the collective memory of the society for a number of years and utilizes his wisdom in helping the Committee of Elders to make significant choices, even if he is tormented with the pain of the memories. He believes that everyone’s memories belong in their own minds.

Jonas’ Father – A Nurturer who works with infants. With his two kids, Jonas and Lily he’s very sweet. He enjoys his job and takes it very seriously, constantly nurturing children who will stay alive until the Ceremony of Names. But even if he is attached to a kid, if it is the best choice, he will release it.

Gabriel – The newborn Jonas’s family looks after in the evening. During the day, he is sweet and adorable, but at night he cannot sleep unless Jonas provides him with a few memories. He becomes very close to Jonas.

Are there any clear indicators of conflict in text? Types?

Person vs Society – Jonas questions the world he lives in, doesn’t agree with the rules and is shocked at the “release” of infants. After acquiring everyone’s memories and understanding happiness, colour and pain, he struggles to understand why the rest of society doesn’t get to share these emotions or have any choice in what they do.

Person vs Self – When Jonas became Receiver, his perspective changed. He struggled to understand what is right and grew up thinking his life was perfect. Throughout the book, he receives all the memories for the community and goes through every memory of pain or emotion, which is mentally challenging.

Themes/Issues suggested

The Importance of Memory

“Without memory, there is no pain. If you cannot remember physical pain, you might as well not have experienced it, and you cannot be plagued by regret or grief if you cannot remember the events that hurt you.”*

No one except for Jonas and The Giver have memories, and so everyone sees a world devoid of colour and live mindlessly. They have no emotions, no happiness, no pain, because they have no memory.

The Relationship Between Pain and Pleasure

“The concept that no pleasure without pain and no pain without pleasure can be related to the theme of memory. Regardless of the pleasure of an experience, unless you remember a time of suffering, you can never enjoy that pleasure.”*

The community members can not understand their life’s joys because they have never experienced suffering: their lives are completely unassuming, free of emotional variations. Similarly, because they don’t appreciate life’s real marvel, they feel no pain or sorrow: death is not tragic to them as life does not matter. When the Giver gives Jonas the memories, memories of pain open him to the idea of love and comfort just like memories of pleasure do.

^Comprised from

The Importance of the Individual

At the Ceremony of Twelve, the community celebrates the differences between the twelve-year-old children for the first time in their lives. For many kids, twelve is an age when they struggle to develop their identity and distinguish themselves from their parents and their peers.The story of Jonas’s evolution from a child who depended on his society to a young man with distinctive skills, dreams and wishes. This novel can even be regarded as an allegory of the process: of maturation: Jonas, a 12-year-old, rejects a society where all are the same and instead, follows his own path. Instead of disregarding or pretending not to exist, the novel promotes readers to celebrate differences. Jonas’s community disregard his uncommon eyes and odd skills out of politeness, but these exceptional characteristics eventually alter the community positively.

Possible reasons why this text has been considered so important to Western readers

The themes and materials in this book are still important today. The emergence of dystopian fiction is a projection of our real concerns and our desire to bring order to a world which just seems to be happening to us. This dystopian novel was one of the first written for youth, its topics are universal, and the book continues to speak with new generations of readers. The novel portrayed a sense of identity and is extremely appealing to readers who are of the same age as the character, who faces a comparable life.

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